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We swayed back and forth Friday morning about whether to drive the boat to the bay or join the cattle herd being ferried over on the jet express. Really, my sister’s husband David, the one who would have to play the role of Captain, swayed and the Cadmus sisters used our unstoppable powers of persuasion to gently guide (guilt) him into taking the boat. High winds and chance of storms be damned, we were determined to have a vessel of our own. As warned, winds made for some choppy riding on the way to the island, but my cousin Sam and I still parked it in the back of the boat and sipped on beers between incoming wakes to our faces.

I'm on a boat

The day played out in typical Put-n-Bay fashion. We hit The Goat tavern for lunch… because as most of you know, I love goats. Stopped at the new Mojito Bay for some outdoor swing bar fun. Made fun of all the douche beacons passing by. Peeked our heads in at the Beer Barrel’s longest bar in the world, then headed on to what always becomes home base for us at the Bay, The Roundhouse. Nothing ever changes at the Roundhouse. At 33 , I am pretty sure I was the third youngest one there (my cousins Kris and Sam joined this world a bit after me), because we hit the afternoon drunken blue hair crowd. Drunk people wore buckets on their heads after draining them of beer and Mad Dog was on stage playing covers, cursing like there was no tomorrow and taking shots between every song. In fact, he stopped a few songs to take shots in the middle. Same scene as my first trip to Put-n-Bay 12 years ago.

Swingin

At one point Mad Dog looked out into the crowd and singled out the cute old dude sitting next to us. He was a sweet old man wearing a bucket on his head and peacefully enjoying his surroundings with his lovely wife. Mad Dog pointed to him and said “Why you so sad, little buckethead? Why you so sad?” This would be repeated and mimicked by our group a minimum of 75 times throughout the rest of the evening. Mad Dog also said, “I wasn’t planning to get drunk today, but what the fuck? It’s Christmas!” We all nodded in agreement.

Why you so sad, buckethead?

Another favorite quote from someone in our group ended up being, “The next time I am really gay, I am going to ask him if he is drunk.” If we weren’t sure whether the alcohol was taking effect at this point, there was our sign.

We hung at the Roundhouse for a good long stint. The Roundhouse has a very high ceiling. From which hung many Christmas decorations, including 12 inch sparkly disco balls. One fell directly on cousin Sam’s head from about 30 feet up. She got a free shot out of it and was covered in glitter the rest of the day. No one believed her that she wasn’t intentionally glittered, so she looked like one of those annoying glitter wearing people. That’s ok cuz she fit right in while we finished out the day dancing barefoot to a cover band and doing shots out of plastic syringes.

Look at those poorly secured disco balls

And that’s when the whores come in… no actually, its when the storm came in. Again per David’s predictions, a good ole midwest thunderstorm rolled through. We waited out the first cell with beers and Christmas carols, then drove across the lake for the second. Thanks to my sister’s mad first mate skills, she was able to stand on the bow in mid downpour to guide us in safely to the boat slip. We went to visit Ted at the Yacht Club bar for a few   before heading home to crash. Probably could have done without that last pint glass full of vodka…

Stormy weather

Oddly enough, we were all surprised to not have hangovers the next morning. This is a good thing, because giant African animals headbutting your car cannot be good with a splitting headache. We felt bad for leaving the kids all day on Friday so the following day we decided to check out the “drive through safari” down the road. When I hear drive through anything, I think cheap and stupid… like the drive through dentist. Boy oh boy were we pleasantly (or not so pleasantly, depending on who you ask) surprised.

We expected a few sleeping antelope and a gift shop. What we got was a freaking stampede of exotic animals jockeying for position by our car windows.  There were llamas, and bulls and reindeer and buffalo all wandering willie nille and sticking their heads in the car looking for grub. A bull with horns bigger than my leg scared the crap out of us as he keyed the side of the minivan and about shattered a window. This set Nora off into a fit of terrified madness. Like my mom, I laugh my ass off when I am nervous. I am in the back seat trying to keep Luke from jumping out the window, calming Nora who is screaming at the top of her lungs that  she wants to go home, throwing deer feed out the window and trying to capture it all on video camera while laughing my ass off. This means I was unable to stop the reindeer that stuck his head in and started gnawing on the passenger seat when he realized I was out of food. Luckily, he realized the 27 cars behind us were bound to have some chow. Things calmed down and we even got to feed a giraffe through the sunroof. This place was freaking awesome. Next time we’ll know what to expect and come prepared. We’ll also probably rent a car and get the $12 insurance.

Traumatized by the hungry bulls

Geoffrey

The rest of my Ohio visit was fantabulous. Aunt Jen got some quality time in, teaching the kids things they probably shouldn’t do. We had some fun at the pool. Michelle and I spent a day at Cedar Point (America’s Roller Coast!). What I learned while I was there is that my body has aged a lot in the seven years since I have been there. One of my favorite wooden rollercoasters jerked me around so much my boobs hit me in the face and my brain rattled for a good hour after. We used to stay until they kicked us out of the park. Michelle and I walked out limping at 5pm. It was still a blast though. I’ll just remember to wear a sports bra and a helmet next time.

In the pool with our clothes on

Now, I’m back in Austin. Back to single life. Back to business. Back to reality. Already missing the fact that I could walk into a room and two cute little faces would instantly light up with pure joy. That just doesn’t really happen much around here when I walk into a room. Don’t get me wrong, my friends are, in general, happy to see me but the look of pure joy doesn’t usually happen until I set a drink in front of them…

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HP sent me the link to this Lemondrop article yesterday and I about fell out of my chair. Why? Because, 1. This bloke is a phenomenal and hilarious writer (part of his problem, actually) and 2.  Finally someone is calling out this disorder many of us suffer from and his description of it is spot on. “IRL Syndrome — When You’re Better on Paper Than in Person” is not about resumes that exaggerate people as corporate superheros, as the title might suggest. It is about people like me who have mastered the art of flirting through the written word, but completely fall apart when expected to display the same behavior in person. I can convey my wit, charm and seduction perfectly in 140 characters or through an email that leaves its recipient checking his inbox every 3 minutes in anticipation of the next perfectly worded masterpiece. When forced to charm the pants off someone face to face, I clam up, my lip gloss covered straw gets caught in my hair, I stick my head into ceiling fans… I’m a hot mess that leaves my potential suitor racking his brain for excuses to run for the hills. I’ve tried to convert my written fabulousness into real-life behavior, but my clumsiness and inability to find the right words around people of the opposite sex that I’m attracted to seems to just be hardwired. I’ve now resigned to finding someone of equal awkwardness… or someone that thinks my own inelegance is cute.

Speaking of cute, today is the trip over to debauchery island, AKA Put-n-Bay. This yearly trip typically results in two drunk Cadmus sisters in ridiculous hats thinking we are giant bags of cuteness. This year should be extra special since we now have to make-up for the disappointment of the Tom Petty cancellation… and we are celebrating Michelle’s birthday. Gotta go find some twinkly lights to wrap around the boat!

UPDATE: Tom Petty just canceled on us. Glad we hadn’t begun the drive to Cleveland yet. We’re going to find some other trouble to get into. Maybe drive to Sandusky to see the latest Twilight movie. Close second to the show…

Tonight Michelle and I will roll into Cleveland for the Drive by Truckers and Tom Petty. It’s been quite a long time since the Cadmus sisters caught a show. We may not be the finest of dancers, but when we have each other, we just don’t care.

This will be the seventh time I’ve seen Mr. Petty and his Heartbreakers. Never a bad show. I’ve seen Dylan, and Willie and other classic songwriters whose (while I will always have the utmost respect) live shows have unfortunately soured with age. Petty knows what the crowd wants, and he delivers. Every time I have coerced someone who is “meh” about him to go, they have left the show in disbelief that they liked so many of his songs. Never fails. Tonight though, I will not have to coerce anyone.

Back in college I rented a bus to take us from Lawrence to Kansas City to catch the Tom Petty. That time around I had to coerce a whole bus load of people. This may not have been the smartest approach, as I was so lit by the time the bus pulled into Sandstone amphitheater that I barely remember what took place, but I do remember a bus load of people thanking me at the end of the evening.

I also remember the one year I missed Tom Petty at Red Rocks in Denver. I was moving back to Colorado from a short stint in Kansas on that exact day. My boyfriend at the time said, “Have I got a surprise for you when you get in!” I psyched myself up for a night at the world’s most beautiful amphitheater with one of my favorite musicians. We hopped in the car and my mind immediately panicked because we were going the wrong direction. We then pulled into Red Lobster where a group of my friends were waiting for me to enjoy Lobsterfest! Don’t get me wrong, a night at the Lobster with a group of friends, boat loads of melted butter, plastic bibs and those goofy drinks that they serve is an evening to treasure. But I couldn’t help thinking I was missing the first tour he had been on since 1995… It’s the thought that counts, and this gesture would have gone over with flying colors in any other instance, but note to anyone that may date me in the future: study Tom’s schedule.

Tonight, we’ll be in Cleveland, so I expect some stellar people watching. Plus I am all growns up now, so I expect to be sober enough to appreciate my surroundings. Will turn on the mobile blogging switch and have the flip cam in tow!

CORRECTION: Port Clinton does in fact have a bowling alley. It’s also on the outskirts next to my tech friendly coffee shop. Saw it as I took an alternate bike ride to “the office.”

Every year I visit my sister and her family in Port Clinton, Ohio at the end of July. Some of you may remember my description of the Port Clinton “Walleye Drop” several years ago. Michelle’s birthday is July 22 and it always falls right around the weekend of “Christmas in July” at Put-n-Bay. For those of you that do not have encyclopedic knowledge of all party islands across this fine nation, Put-n-Bay is a “village” encompassing a whopping 0.6 square miles of South Bass Island (to be honest, it actually is the whole island) about 15 miles off the coast of Ohio in the middle of Lake Erie. Around 200 people live on the island year round, but thousands of people visit it during the summer season to get drunk and act stupid (yes, of course we are going). Picture Bourbon street… on an island. In addition to the strip of bars and music venues, there is a winery, a crystal cave, all your typical water sports and people dart around on golf carts and bicycles. Each July there is a weekend where the entire island celebrates Christmas. Bars and shops are decorated and all the boats docked at the marina for the weekend are wrapped in twinkly lights and topped with blow-up snowmen and reindeer. Of course there are drunken Santas and elves wandering the island all weekend  in search of “naughty” ladies.

Essentially, all summer long there are people ready to cut loose, heading over to the island in their boats or on the big ferries that haul people to this fantasy island from Port Clinton every 30 minutes. Port Clinton is a small friendly town, just down the way from Sandusky, Ohio and Cedar Point, the Roller Coaster Capital of the World. It is also home of the world champion decoy carvers, who live right across the street from my sister!!

Home of the World Decoy Carving Champions!

Home of the World Decoy Carving Champions!

Now, aside from the wastoids shuffling through town to be ferried to debauchery island,  Port Clinton is your typical small town environment. There is gossip, there is a Frisch’s Big Boy, there is a local bar (that also happens to be the yacht club) that regulars meet up in daily, there are local businesses, there’s no gym, bowling alley or movie theater. When I asked the local coffee shop if they had internet, I was met with borderline hostility. Her word’s said, “sometimes if you are lucky you can steal it from across the street, but no, we do not have internet here.” But her eyes said, “let me tell you where you can stick your information super highway.” I was able to ride my bike a few extra miles to the “new” coffee shop on the outskirts of town. They met my technological snobbishness with open arms. They are bleeding edge.

Tech and shopping challenges aside, there is something about this type of town that just allows you to exhale a little more. When you roll into the bar at night, you aren’t competing with rail thin women in designer miniskirts with $2000 bags purchased via trust fund. Riding your bike down the main street along the coast of the great lakes brings the same exhilarating feeling as walking the beach in Mexico, without the sweltering heat and wild dogs.  The sound of birds are the calming coo of seagulls rather than the squawk of grackles fighting over an abandoned tortilla chip.  I wasn’t even the least bit ashamed letting it all hang out in a bikini next to the yacht club pool yesterday and my niece and nephew are going to have an awesome childhood growing up here. Could I live here permanently as a single woman in her 30s? No, but it sure is a nice place to visit.

In fact, my sister often, somewhat seriously, suggests that I should move out here. While we were in Mexico in May, I finally said, if she could find five eligible men that actually fit the parameters of someone I would consider dating, I am willing to go out on five dates while I am in Ohio this summer. Her goal being that I fall helplessly in love and move here to be with the man of my dreams (sounds like me, right?). My goal being to prove that me moving out here would mean a life of loneliness. She set out to get the dates set up. I am here now. There are no dates.

The day I got in, I went straight to a graduation party in Cleveland for my cousin. I love our family get-togethers. We are fun. …and unapologetically rough around the edges. As I sat there guzzling my 5th cup of wine from a plastic Dixie cup, I began thinking about a conversation I had the other night with a friend of mine. I was telling him how, spending the last four years in Austin, I have been all too often exposed to the people who are “Dallas”. We are talking about the perfectly accessorized, perfectly tan, perfectly lip-sticked, carry a book on your head and never trip over your 3 inch heels ladies. I explained that no matter how hard I try… I will never ever be able to be so put together. I’m a klutz and I leave things, people and chaos in my wake pretty much everywhere I go. I can spend an hour putting on make-up or coifing my hair, but I will still look like a hot mess 30 minutes later. I will always have a portion of my dinner down the front of my shirt. I will rarely turn down an offer for a free shot. I don’t glisten, I sweat. I may be able to temper my language, but I am a firm believer that every once in a while, an F-bomb is just the most appropriate way to convey my point. I’ve tried to be classy, and failed. It’s just not in me. And I finally understand why. I AM FROM OHIO for God’s sake! And I am ok with that. In fact, I am proud of it. I can’t stand being around people who are 100 percent put together. In my experience, those are the people who are a big bag of crazy beneath that thin layer of perfection. We are real. What you see, is what you get. And as I often do, I am going to go ahead and hazard that there are people out there that find my clumsiness and occasional lack of tact endearing. It’s not like you can’t dress me up and take me out someplace nice without offending people. I clean up alright and I enjoy nice clothes, nice places, nice food and drink. But, you will not find me at a baseball game with heels and a clutch. You will find me in the dog pound with a flask and a bone.

As I arrived at the graduation party, it didn’t take long for the conversation to focus on my dating situation. It’s my fault, I frequently expose myself. My Mom was talking about setting me up with another of her friend’s sons (insert eye roll), who recently separated from a long time love, and my aunt commented on how I could be the rebound girl. To this I noted that I am typically the girl who guys date before they move on to someone who they can commit to (I’m not sure if I should be flattered or offended by this, but in Jen warped mind fashion, I’m gonna go ahead and take it as a compliment). My dad noted that this makes me the “prebound” girl. Good call Pops!

Off to explore more Port Clinton lifestyle. I just looked up from my computer to see seven ladies in their 60s ordering at the counter. All of them in capris. I think that is the local uniform…

Yes, I’ve been slacking. Partially due to the great Mac meltdown of 2010 that occured the day I got into Denver last week and partially because the technology fail forced me to remember that unplugging and being fully absorbed in the moment without one hand feverishly plugging away at the iphone or keyboard is sometimes really nice.

Unfortunately, for those of you anxiously awaiting an update on the great wedding dating experiment, I got nothin. I got into town and quickly realized that catching up with and hanging out with old friends is something I’ll take any day over playing dating roulette with the single folks at a wedding.

What I did confirm in the last week is that baseball games and amusement parks are prime breeding grounds for dousche beacons. Where do these folks come from??

We took in an afternoon baseball game at Coors Field on Sunday. The plan was to grab lunch and a few beers, hit the game, then find some trouble for the evening. …and that is what we did, but there were a few curve balls along the way. First, we went to a favorite downtown Denver drinking establishment, the Falling Rock Tap House. I kept pointing to beers I was going to order and Erik kept cautioning me against them because of their high alcohol content. After all, it would be a long day (I opted not to brag about my marathon drinking abilities, as I have learned that this doesn’t necessarily impress people…and I also learned that back at high altitudes, my abilities are severely comprimised). Ultimately Brie and I let a friend from the bar choose our beers and ironically he brought us the beer on tap with the highest alcohol content. That set us off at a good clip.

Ruphie Beer

At the game we took our places in the coveted seats along the third-base line and settled in for some beer and baseball fun…along with people watching. On 4th of July there are always some extra special outfits.

I will be the first to admit… there were probably some people that were “people watching” us too. Afterall, we are pretty freaking cool… that and Andy likes to yell things like, “Win this one for America, Helton!” (He was the first one out of the gate that day, if you know what I mean).

Happy Fourth

After the 7th inning stretch, everyone starts to get a little antsy. It’s when they stop serving beer, so you just hope for a quick two innings to maintain the happy feeling. Little did we know that this game would go on as many innings sans beer as with the tasty beveridge. We had the cute kids in front of us to entertain us for about 10 minutes, but the game ended up being the longest game in the history of Coors field. Yes, we are talking about sitting in a baseball stadium for 5 hours and 24 minutes. I can drive from Austin to Houston and back in that amount of time. Thank God we started with the Ruphie beer, so we were able to ride it out longer than usual. Brie and I finally bailed at the 14th inning to drink Jameson while the guys saw the last inning through. I’m pretty sure our departure is what finally pushed the Rockies to put up a W in the 15th.

The kid we briefly adopted in the 10th inning

 I could go into detail on all the other Denver adventures, but in the interest of being brief and with a somewhat “what happens off the grid, stays off the grid” aire, I’ll just say they included:

  • me agreeing to be shot in the air by a sling shot while strapped inside a giant metal hamster ball
  • impromtu homemade toga making contest
  • a gorilla suit
  • three unfinished games of yahtzee
  • a pedicure that might last until my next birthday
  • watching two rich Asian dudes suck down a magnum of sake and 3 big bottles of champagne
  • several fantastic meals (I didn’t even know I liked brussel sprouts)
  • and so as not to disappoint you with a whole week without incident, I did stick my head into an operating ceiling fan (not under the influence). Only a tiny cut resulted. Could have been worse. Could have lost a head or been swooped up with the nastiest of hair tangles.

Not too shabby for a trip that started out with me missing a plane (don’t ask me how I feel about the Southwest boarding process) and running through Pheonix with 7 bloody toes.

The Hamster Ball

 Am now back in soggy Austin, playing the new records I brought back from Twist and Shout and unsuccessfully attempting to complete the Mac data recovery process (and my own data recovery process).